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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, STORE CLOSURES, SHIFT CONSUMER BUYING BEHAVIOUR LEADING TO ACCELERATED DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FOR MERCHANTS

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CORONAVIRUS

Forter Issues First In A Monthly Series of Coronavirus Special Reports 


Forter, the leader in e-commerce fraud prevention, today announced the release of the Forter Special Report on the Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer and Fraudster Behaviour. The report provides merchants across industries with insight into trends seen within the $150B in transactions that Forter processes annually.

As the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the globe, government responses have included enforced social distancing and financial support to beleaguered economies. Merchants who sell non-essential goods have responded by closing physical stores, and in some regions also their online operations. Consumers have begun to shift their purchases, even those of essential items such as groceries, online.

The Forter Special Report tracks trends and spikes in consumer behaviour as well as innovative methods that opportunistic fraudsters take to prey on consumers during this unprecedented and unpredictable time.

“Merchants are scrambling to cut costs, reduce the impact of fraud, scale efficiently, and deliver a consistent customer experience to meet rising consumer online buying behaviour,” said Michael Reitblat, CEO and co-Founder of Forter. “The aftermath of the pandemic will accelerate digital transformation among merchants as consumer shopping habits adapt.”

Covering industries including travel, fashion and beauty, food and beverage, marketplaces, and more, The Forter Special Report uncovers consumer buying trends such as:

  • The travel industry has been extremely hard hit. Regional variations are appearing, in particular an increase in purchases of inbound international travel to China in the weeks before the country closed down inbound travel on 26 March. Data in the last month points to “optimistic travel” in which the travel date is 120 or more days following booking. Such bookings now account for 65% of travel purchases.
  • The food and beverage industry has seen a dramatic increase in online purchases. New accounts now represent 15-25% of all customer volume, compared to 5-7% prior to the pandemic. As merchants struggle to manage the increased volume and meet expectations of new customers, we are seeing an increase in service chargebacks.

Fraudsters are exploiting confusion and uncertainty caused by government and corporate policies:

  • As people adjust to working from home, Forter sees a marked increase in social engineering fraud, associated with fake emails purporting to be from HR and corporate addresses. Here fraudsters invite people to click for more information, instead taking victims to malicious sites.
  • With a shift to online shopping in Apparel and Accessories, we see an increase in gift card purchases. While a higher number of legitimate buyers usually means that fraud rates drop, gift card fraud rates have not. Fraudsters have noticed an increased demand of the completely virtual merchandise that is easy to monetise.

In its recent report, “Mitigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Impacts With Digital Commerce (March 2020),” Gartner asserts that “the COVID-19 outbreak will negatively impact business performance in the short term as offline activities are cancelled and online orders overwhelm delivery capacities. Application leaders can mitigate the impact and ensure continuity of operations by accelerating digital commerce initiatives.”

 

“With more consumers experiencing buying online, we expect merchants who hadn’t considered e-Commerce as a viable platform to now try it,” continued Reitblat. “Merchants that had already adopted e-Commerce struggle to meet this increase in demand. Working collaboratively from home and hiring to meet the volume create obstacles for those who manually review transactions for fraud.”

Forter’s integrated fraud prevention platform delivers real-time decisions at every point of the customer journey from account sign up and login, to purchase, and to returns. The system is tailored for each merchant based on its unique business requirements, pairing merchant feedback with Forter’s expertise.

Forter’s growing Global Merchant Network includes over 620 million consumers globally and 97% of online US consumers. Links among known consumers and those new to the network allow the platform to infer trust, resulting in higher accuracy without the need to manually review transactions and interactions.

With the Forter platform merchants can expect an up to 90% reduction in false declines, recapturing otherwise lost revenue and delivering the best possible buying experience to their consumers, with an up to 90% decrease in chargebacks due to fraudulent activity. Forter allows merchants to scale and accelerate their digital transformation strategies even in an uncertain time.

“Rules based systems by their nature look at the past and adapt to it,” said Reitblat. “New consumer behaviours, which we’re seeing across industries, as well as new fraud behaviours, are missed by these systems until they can adapt. Forter’s identity-based system authenticates the buyer, not just the behaviour.”

Together with the Special Report, Forter has also issued its Eighth Fraud Attack Index, highlighting industry trends and innovative fraud vectors, showing the evolution of fraud, comparing H2 2019 to H2 2018. The report features the continued evolution of fraud attack vectors across all customer touchpoints, demonstrating the need to protect merchants’ digital offerings at all interactions in the customer journey, from account abuse to payment abuse to policy abuse.

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Wombat partners with Currencycloud to launch its new, free Instant Investment service to open up investing for a wider market.

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UK-based micro-investment platform Wombat has partnered with Currencycloud, the experts in simplifying business in a multi-currency world, to launch its new, free, Instant Investing account to give investors the ability to invest instantly in the UK, and in US stocks during opening hours.

In line with Wombat’s goal of making investing effortless and accessible for all, the easy-to-use Instant Investing account lets people who want to trade more frequently, and with more choice, do so with no initial subscription fee and only small FX transaction fees. An investor can now instantly place a trade, commission-free, during US market hours. The new account adds to Wombat’s range of carefully chosen, low-cost, theme-based exchange traded funds (ETFs) and fractional UK, US and EU shares.

By partnering with Currencycloud and integrating its APIs directly into their app, Wombat is able to offer its customers instant access to popular US stocks and shares by executing instant buy and sell orders with unlimited commission-free trading and low FX rates. These customers can trade regularly in real time, and instantly convert USD to GBP and vice versa when it suits them and without incurring any hidden FX fees.

Says Kane Harrison, CEO and Co-founder of Wombat: “The addition of Instant Investing is really exciting for us as it gives our users the opportunity to further their investment journey. For those who want to be able to trade shares more regularly, our new instant account will give them flexibility and greater options with access to real-time investments and live market pricing. These new features are fundamental to the next stage of our development and give our users the tools they need to invest the way they want.”

Nick Cheetham, Chief Revenue Officer at Currencycloud, commented: “The growth of Wealthtech over the last couple of years has been meteoric. Working with a brand like Wombat, that provides investment opportunities to the layman is a perfect example of our mutual goal of levelling the playing fields within financial services.”

Wombat is available to download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play now.

 

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Urban Company rolls out health insurance for service professionals in partnership with ACKO Insurance

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  • Health insurance plan to benefit 40,000+ service partners in India
  • Service partners can avail up to 12 free-of-cost online doctor consultations in a year
  • Urban Company already provides Group Life and Accidental Insurance cover to all the service partners associated with the platform   

Urban Company, Asia’s largest tech-enabled home services marketplace, today announced that it is introducing a comprehensive health insurance plan for its service partners in India. The company has tied up with ACKO Insurance to craft this insurance cover.

Under the newly launched health insurance policy, all UC Plus service partners will get an insurance cover of INR 2 lac. The policy will also provide family medical insurance for spouse and two children and up to 12 free medical consultations per year. This is in addition to the existing Group Life and Accidental Insurance cover. Service partners without UC Plus subscription will benefit from a health insurance cover of INR 1 lac, with up to 12 free medical consultations per year for self, along with the existing benefits of the Group Life and Accidental Insurance cover.

Commenting on the initiative, Varun Khaitan, COO & Co-founder Urban Company, said, “Health insurance provides a shield against unexpected medical expenses that can throw individuals and families in dire financial situation. To protect our service partners from such a scenario, we are introducing a specially designed health insurance plan. At Urban Company, our priority has always been the well-being of our partners and we constantly strive towards that through our continued focus on safety net and wealth creation for them.”

Brijesh Unithan, Senior Vice President of Partnerships, ACKO Insurance said “Health Insurance has become a critical aspect in financial planning, and kudos to Urban Company for planning this on behalf of their service professionals. We are excited about the partnership and will keep refining the benefits with more experience to make it a one-stop shop for Urban Company’s service professionals to access all their health insurance needs. 

ACKO Group Medical Cover (GMC) empowers partners to choose from a wide range of benefits offering flexibility to change benefits as per the changing needs of the family and reduces the burden of expensive medical care and the soaring medical inflation. In addition, ACKO GMC eliminates the tedious paperwork by making the entire insurance journey accessible on the app.

Urban Company has a structured approach towards partner development and well-being centered around 4 key pillars: improved earnings, safety net, training and wealth creation. This announcement is part of the Urban Company’s efforts to further strengthen the safety net it offers to its partners. All active partners on the UC platform in India are covered under the Group Life and Accidental Insurance cover. Some of the key aspects covered under the policy are life insurance (INR 6 lakhs), disability cover (INR 6 lakhs), accidental hospitalization (INR 70,000), accidental OPD treatment (INR 10,000), among others.

Recently, Urban Company also announced an industry-first ‘Partner Stock Ownership Plan (PSOP)’ initiative for its service partners. Under this initiative, the Company plans to award stocks worth INR 150 Cr. to thousands of service partners over the next 5-7 years. This will enable Urban Company service partners, including plumbers, electricians, cleaners, beauticians, and massage therapists etc., to become equal stakeholders in the company’s growth.

 

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